Saturday 16 December 2017

Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny vows to surprise Israeli giants

Stephen Kenny is relishing another European night
Stephen Kenny is relishing another European night

Dundalk boss Stephen Kenny insists his squad have no fear of Maccabi Tel Aviv ahead of their crunch Europa League clash.

Israel's most decorated club will be fired up for the tie at Tallaght Stadium after a 5-0 derby drubbing of their home city rivals Hapoel Tel Aviv at the weekend.

But Kenny says his semi-professional Lilywhites are going after a win in Dublin.

"We've earned a right to be here and we are fully aware that a win tomorrow night could put us possibly on top - at least in first or second place in the group," he said.

"That is our intention - that is the way we view it."

Concerns were flagged over the availability of defender Sean Gannon and midfielder John Mountney - both of whom were struggling with groin problems.

But Kenny confirmed the pair are expected to train ahead of Thursday's night's decider and should be fit for the squad.

The Dundalk manager has been scouring footage of Maccabi leading up to the game and although wary of their attacking style, warns his men can match them for surprises.

"There are plenty of threats with Maccabi," Kenny told a pre-match press conference.

"But we have quite a few ourselves and we are not inhibited or in any way feel inferior."

The Co Louth side's 1-1 away draw with Dutch giants AZ Alkmaar will also inject confidence into the outfit.

"They can bring that into tomorrow and not be fearful in any way, shape or form," Kenny added.

Hinting at potential tactical surprises in store, the manager admitted he had learned a lot in recent European games.

Dundalk have not played the same way in any of the games so far and have had to adapt to each side's style of play while trying to impose their own game.

"The players understand that and are learning quick," Kenny said.

"We have been very impressed with Maccabi, they have been absolutely excellent.

"But we have played good teams in the competition so far and have done very well. So that gives us hope."

Dundalk defender Dane Massey predicted everyone would be "on a buzz" for the latest European adventure.

"Everyone's really looking forward to it," he said.

"Everybody loves playing in Tallaght, it's a great pitch and a great arena."

Press Association

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